WASHINGTON -- The Ottawa Senators will have their top defenceman back in the lineup for the stretch drive of the regular season. Erik Karlsson will play Thursday night in Washington, just 10 weeks after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon that was expected to sideline him for the rest of the season. "Ive been feeling good lately and I think its about time to play some hockey again," Karlsson said at the pre-game skate. Its an improbable return that is expected to boost the Senators, who can clinch a playoff spot with a victory over the Capitals. "Its a refreshing sight to see," defence partner Marc Methot said. "You could tell it brings a lot of energy out of all the guys. Its new life into our dressing room." Karlssons Achilles tendon was sliced by the left skate of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke on Feb. 13. The gruesome injury was expected to keep the 22-year-old Norris Trophy winner out for four to six months. "He said the day after it happened, he had surgery, he said two months," captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "And we knew that was not possible. We never thought he would be able to come back unless we went really far in the playoffs." Karlsson ended up missing 31 games. He had 10 points in 14 games this season before the injury and led all NHL defenceman in goals (19) and points (78) last season. Coach Paul MacLean said hes not concerned about his team being too emotional Thursday due to Karlssons return. "The doctors and the medical people have given everything the OK, so we just want him to come in and be him and do what he does," MacLean. "Well monitor it much like we did with Jared Cowan, how much hes going to play and how hes doing, and if hes doing fine well keep playing him. And if he struggles a little bit, well cut back on what hes doing." Karlsson said he doesnt think hes rushing back. For the first eight weeks after surgery, he wasnt sure about returning this season but knew once he got back on the ice it was possible. "I think Im good enough to play," Karlsson said. "I dont know exactly what percentage it is. Obviously its not the way it was before but its still good enough to be able to play hockey and hopefully Ill show that tonight." His friends in the Capitals dressing room know the challenges the talented defenceman possesses, but theyre nevertheless happy hes back. "Its unfortunate and I felt bad for him because hes a great guy and a great hockey player," said forward Marcus Johansson, who has played with or against Karlsson since they were 16 years old. "You dont want to see stuff like that happen, but Im glad hes getting healthy." Kenbrell Thompkins Jersey. Nolasco pitched scoreless ball into the ninth inning and the Florida Marlins quieted the streaking Giants with a 5-1 victory Tuesday night, snapping San Franciscos nine-game home winning streak. Dan Connolly Jersey.6 million tickets up for sale and a giant clock ticking down the 500 days until the opening ceremony, two of the greatest athletes in Olympic history came to London on Tuesday to help celebrate the countdown to next years Summer Games. http://www.authenticpatriotsjerseysnfl.com/New-England-Patriots_Donta-Hightower-Super-Bowl-Jersey/. Tonight, the Red Sox try to bounce back once again when they play the middle test of a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Jamie Collins Jersey. Late Saturday night, Burkes Flames acquired centre Joe Colborne for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. Colborne was among the players fighting for one of the final spots on the Leafs roster but did not stand out in the pre-season. Tom Brady Jersey. -- Different month, different desert, same shocking outcome.DETROIT -- Kevin Smith wasnt surprised the Detroit Lions chose not to offer him a contract. The running back just hopes the NFL labour deal gets done soon so he can find a new home in the league. "I hope it goes through so I can move on," Smith said Friday morning in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Until then, Im just waiting." A person familiar with the situation also told AP the Lions have released linebacker Julian Peterson and tendered contracts to kicker Dave Rayner, linebacker Zach Follett and fullback Jerome Felton. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team hasnt announced the moves. The team has also tendered a contract to quarterback Drew Stanton, according to Deryk Gilmore, Stantons agent. Stanton began the season as Detroits No. 3 quarterback but ended up starting three games because of injuries to Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill. The Lions won two of his starts. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said shortly after last season that Peterson wouldnt be back with the team. The five-time Pro Bowler fell out of favour toward the endd of his second season with the Lions, leading to him being inactive for the finale without an apparent injury.ddddddddddddHe started 14 games last year, ranking second on the team in tackles, and started 14 games in 2009 after Detroit acquired him from Seattle for defensive tackle Cory Redding and a fifth-round pick. The San Francisco 49ers drafted Peterson with the 16th overall pick in 2000 after he starred at Michigan State and traded him after six seasons to the Seahawks. Detroit drafted Smith in the third round in 2008 and he ran for nearly 1,000 yards and caught 39 passes as a rookie. Smith accounted for 1,000-plus yards of offence in 13 games of his second season before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He came back slowly last season and played in six games, running for 51 yards in a win over Washington, then had a season-ending thumb injury in November. "I respect the Lions decision," Smith said. "Nothing surprises me in this business, but what Im really hoping for is a deal to avoid this lockout." ------ AP Sports Writer Noah Trister contributed to this report. ' ' '